Blast from the Past Cinema

Manaiviyey Manithanin Manickam (1959)

A poster of Manaiviyey Manithanin Manickam

A poster of Manaiviyey Manithanin Manickam  

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In the 1950s, Krishnamachari Balajee, a handsome young man from a top Madras High Court lawyer’s family, started out with a modest job in Madras Telephones, later joining the production department of Narasu Studios. Soon, he was starring in minor roles (including Gemini Studios’ cult film Avvaiyar) and later graduated to lead roles, finally going into production and making several successful Tamil movies and remakes of many popular Hindi movies.

He had an interesting way of buying the remake rights. He would periodically visit Bombay, go around town in a cab and find out from the cabbies what the hit Hindi movies were. He would watch these quickly and, if they pleased him, start negotiations for the rights. One of the movies where Balajee played the lead was Manaiviyey Manithanin Manickam, produced by Madanagopal Naidu under the banner Madan Theaters. Kovai Rajagopal was the writer, while screenplay and dialogue were by Makkalanban. A galaxy of Tamil poets — Kannadasan, S.D.S. Yogi, Kovai Rajagopal, A. Marudhakasi, Puratchidasan, Salem Ramasami Pavalar, Adimoolam, Era. Pazhanichami and V.A. Gopalakrishnan — wrote the lyrics. Saluru Hanumantha Rao, the lesser-known brother of film music maestro S. Rajeswara Rao, composed the music. T. A. Mothi and L. Krishnan assisted him. Sampathkumar and Chinnilal choreographed the dances, while P.N. Rao was the editor. The cinematography was by camera wizard U. Rajagopal, the man who shot Chemmeen. Shot at Golden Cine Studios, which no longer exists, the film was directed by K. Vembu, who quit films to join Liberty Garments, Bombay, as their man in Madras. The company was promoted by a former Madras-based filmmaker.

The story is about Lakshmi, a young woman leading a happy life with her husband and child when misfortune suddenly hits her. Thanks to a scheming villain, the husband starts an affair with the attractive Menaka, and starts neglecting his family. His extravagances erode their wealth. However, his wife continues to tolerate him. Only when his father leaves their home in disgust and his wife is kidnapped by the above villain does the husband realise his follies and begin to fight back. Soon, peace and happiness are restored and the villains put behind bars.

The film had more than a dozen songs, of which ‘Fraud...fraud…fraud…’, sung by T.A. Mothi and written by Kovai Rajagopal, became popular.

Despite good performances by the cast, the film did not do well. Interestingly, Nagesh, the latter-day icon of Tamil cinema, played a minor role here and his name is credited in the list as ‘Thai’ Nagesh. The dances were performed by well-known dancer-actress E.V. Saroja.

Remembered for: the impressive performances of Pandari Bai, Vijayakumari and K. Balajee.

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Printable version | Oct 15, 2018 3:57:23 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/features/cinema/blast-from-the-past-column-manaiviyey-manithanin-manickam/article6646388.ece

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